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Back to Road Report Archive 2019

June 5-8, 2019: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo

rr2019 06lb

June 5th:  Day 1

Greetings from the left coast!

Where we will begin this RR with a sage prediction:

I predict that it is impossible to predict what will happen at any coin show.

Case in point this current June installment of the Long Beach Expo which frankly had the deck stacked against it from the outset:

  • It’s the middle of the three annual events out here which is historically the smallest.
  • This year’s timing just 2 weeks after the Baltimore show meant that not every east coast dealer would make the long trip.
  • While perfectly fine, the attached Heritage and preceding Goldberg auctions weren’t the kind of highfalutin named sales that draw a huge crowd from as far as hither and also yon.

So of course Team CRO showed up on Wednesday and proceeded to have the busiest dealer set up we’ve had in a while with sales into the mid 5-figures. How is that possible?  I have no idea.  Are we complaining?  No.

We are in fact going with the flow. Which included selling a whole bunch of widely varying coins to many different people, while also buying at least our fair share of cool coins on the floor, some from usual suspects and long time suppliers, but others from people we do not ever recall buying from before.

All of which now might embolden someone to predict that the rest of this show will turn out to be super busy, with an excellent turn out of our local customers, and coins flying out the door (in a good way) left and right.

But of course (as noted up at the beginning of this RR) we really have no idea, and so we will be back bright and early on Thursday ready to go with whatever flow avails itself.

And then describe it, right here, early on Friday AM.

Until then, then.

June 6th:  Day 2

After a thoroughly productive morning in which Team CRO answered emails, conducted several trans-continental phone calls, updated the site and hit the gym, we were off to the convention center in anticipation of another exciting day on the bourse.

And in just about every conceivable way, it was, starting even before they flung the doors open to the public at 10.

As we completed two early wholesale deals, picked up a bunch of holdover checks and received in hand one wicked coin acquired the previous evening by text.

Then switched to “the show is now open to the public” mode and enjoyed a very steady stream of collector visitors to the table pretty much all day, with many buying a coin or two (or in one case 3).

With a nice, smooth demand curve evenly spread across a lot of our old holdered type, some of which we’ve owned for a few months, others which made their debut at this show.

Offset by decidedly focused interest in one Seated Dollar in our inventory that we acquired at a recent show and which had not been on the site yet.  As three different collectors circled it with the third guy buying it minutes before the second guy returned for another look.

And while that was of course a positive outcome (except for the second guy), it was less exciting to me than some of our world coin action, notably when I turned around at about 2:30 to see MaryAnn writing an invoice for what would end up being a nifty 5-figure sale of some superb old gold. Team CRO indeed.

With our last transaction of the day another gold one, though this time of the U.S. variety.

All adding up to another day busier than we could have possibly dared to predict if we were in the prediction business, which of course we are not.

Followed by a fantastic dinner with some coin industry friends at the hard-to-get-into Nick’s on 2nd which ran late into the night.

Before finally returning to the hotel around 11 and summarily crashing so that we could be rested and ready for whatever Friday brings.

And whatever that is will be described here on Saturday AM.


June 7th:  Day 3

Your author is always looking for new and interesting experiences at these shows, and early on Friday I found one.

That would have been on the stair climber machine in the hotel gym.  And while most of those have some sort of boring information screen you blankly stare at for half an hour, this one had a series of giant Sudoku games on it.  So there I was engaging my total self, working out mind and body in some sort of ultimate cross fit I’ve never experienced before and one that I highly recommend if you have the opportunity.

And so by the time I was done with that, I was fully energized and ready to tackle another unpredictable numismatic day here in LB.

Starting with another pre-show wholesale deal during breakfast, and then a quick trip over to the convention center to get ready for the 10 AM start.

And I am pleased to report that things on Friday continued pretty much as they had been, with a few quick sales and then a pretty big world deal involving multiple coins of varying shapes, sizes and metallic compositions, from different continents, acquired by us from different sources and including one (like others here in our display) that had never been offered on the site.

Followed by a number of complex trade proposals, borderline buying opportunities and long discussions through the afternoon.  Some of which led to business, some which didn’t.  Yet.

In and around which I was able to go check out the current Tyrant Collection ‘Tyrants of the Tiber’ display featuring a lot of fantastic and beautiful coins that, this time, your author unfortunately does not know very much about.  Cool to look at though.

Before heading back to the table to buy a neat colonial and take a few others on consignment from a collector friend before finally tracking down a long-rumored, totally cool 15-coin deal from a collector friend containing a bunch of wild toners, neat old holders and wacko pop-top stuff that will look s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r on upcoming EBs.

All adding up to a pretty solid day’s work which we would cap off with our regular once per show trip to Thai District where the food is amazing, most things are too spicy and we eat it all anyway.

Before finally calling it a night in anticipation of another long day on Saturday during which we’ll check out of the hotel, work a full day on the bourse, see some of our local regular customers (we hope), sell a bunch more coins (we hope), pick up our completed show grading (we hope) and then fly on one of those delightful redeyes getting home at 5 AM.

From where our next RR will be posted in about 24 hours from now –

June 8th:  Day 4

Now back home it’s time to summarize the just completed LB Expo with one of our series of random observations presented in no particular order:

In total we would have to describe our sales at this event as somewhere between robust and extra-super-good (including here on Saturday, as we sold a bunch more).

I spoke to another dealer late in the day who told me that he often does better at shows with relatively sparse dealer attendance (like this one) simply based on the reduced competition for the coins he is trying to buy. And while we are not in exactly the same kind of business, or looking for the same kinds of buying (or selling) opportunities, that same reduced competition concept certainly seemed to benefit us here and reminded us of that old Woody Allen quote “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

A customer who bought a number of items from us in one fell swoop at this show asked if we had a shopping bag. No one has ever asked me that before, but I admit that it had me Googling ‘custom printed shopping bags’ a few minutes later.

One of the bi-products of having a table way up near the door is the steady flow of show attendees who want to have us appraise coins they just inherited, which at this event included a big jar of pennies, a 1921 Morgan Dollar, some raw 3c Nickels in 2x2s, and, slightly more interestingly, a big pile of 19th century gold.

There has been something of a hotel crush here in LB at recent shows, with our usual top choices often all booked up, leading some of our colleagues to stay on the Queen Mary, or at some small local hotel with shared bathrooms or in AirBNBs in the vicinity.  And while we are not super picky, we do demand proximity, privacy and security, which definitely rules out all of those options.

I am patiently waiting for the Tyrant Collection display that includes his South American coins (if in fact there will be one, and I am not sure there is).

Our grading efforts here were, once again, utterly uninspiring.

We were surprised to see that Ebay had a table at this show, with their people managing the coin and collectibles category there to help sellers with anything they needed.  So of course we spoke to them for a while as we hope to ramp up our activity there going forward.

As is nearly always the case, we sold our old holdered and/or gold CAC coins just about perfectly evenly to collectors and crackout guys alike at this show. We’d prefer it be the former, but once listed on the site or displayed at a show it’s always first come first served.

We always enjoy coin show dinner conversations which tend to meander to nearly any imaginable topic and also to others we could not have imagined, which at this show included yogis and space aliens. Seriously.

After a mad dash of shows in April and May spilling over into June, we are now looking at a loooong major show hiatus until the ANA in August.  But we’ll have plenty to do in the interim, including lots of buying and selling, bookkeeping, working on the new website and, of course, multiple EBs.  With the first one going out on June 18th.

In the meantime, we’re going to sign off so we can enjoy (what is left of) the weekend.